Best use of U.S. military protecting homeland, not fighting Afghanistan
Have you read the book "All Quiet on the Western Front"? It was written about the first World War in which his elders, with thoughts of national pride, propel a young man into the war. His feelings of disillusionment grow as his comrades continue to fall around him.
I bring this up because there are many people at this time in our country who are proposing that we send our youth to a far, hostile land in order to bring about retribution for the horrendous assault on America.
To those who do support this kind of action, I propose you take this test. Go look your young son in the eyes and imagine his blood seeping into the desert sand of Afghanistan. Can you imagine it? It will happen.
There is no possible way that we can invade the country of Afghanistan and not have casualties. Will it be your son?
Am I proposing that we sit back and do nothing or not seek justice over what has occurred? Of course not. Did we not try this in Vietnam? And how many of our youth still have not made it back to our beloved country?
At this time we have the sympathy and support of most of the world, but these will quickly fade as soon as there are reports a few civilian Afghani casualties, even if they are false. If these people will not give up the perpetrators of this crime, I can't believe that economically, and with this global support, we can't squeeze these people into doing what is right.
Perhaps there will be some who disagree with my using Vietnam as an example. There are no jungles in Afghanistan, and we have much better technology now. I would remind people that this same country of Afghanistan was the site of the former Soviet Union's own Vietnam. The Soviet military eventually pulled out of Afghanistan because it could not accomplish what it wished in that desert and mountainous terrain.
And now the Taliban is warning its people to prepare for a Holy War or Jihad. So once again we will be sending our youth into a hostile country where the locals know much more about the land than we ever will, and our boys will have to watch out for every man, woman or child who can lift a gun.
Another historical note. A couple of hundred years ago England decided to get into a war or conflict or military action, whatever you
want to call it. The king sent his youth thousands of miles away to accomplish a military task in a land where the people knew much more about the land than the Redcoats did. The local people used hit-and-run guerilla warfare tactics.
And the people of that land looked upon their task as a holy war of sorts to provide freedom, happiness and tranquility from the invading army and its government.
Any guesses as to who won that little conflict? Go look your son in the eye and ask him.
And so what do we do with our military might? Protect the homeland.
Right now we have a push to have armed guards on planes. Who better than a red-blooded American from the armed forces? Who would dare pull a despicable act on a plane when there are trained personnel who are protecting their territory instead of invading someone else's?
Let's put our troops into the act of making America a place where these horrendous crimes cannot happen. And if blood was to be shed and it happened to be one of our youth where do you think they would rather shed that blood, here at home, or thousands of miles away in the hostile desert? Go look him in the eye. Ask him. Ask yourself.
Michael F. Gustkey
Costs to preserve freedom may be high, but freedom will prevail
At this most troublesome time, for many of us who have served outside the United States and for some who have been witness of the effects of violent and hostile circumstances on the lives and activities of families and socieities, we now draw from our own experiences and to facts we have long known. That we have been most fortunate in that our nation -- that is to say you, our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children -- have not been forced to endure first hand the pain and agony of violence as it exists in much of the world today.
This is a lesson that we have long held to our breast. Each day most of us have thanked God, whomever or whatever we, individually, have held him to be, for that most precious gift. We have watched with great apprehension as the events of the world have unfolded, and even though we had no ideas when or how this wall of peace and relative serenity would be breached, we knew that one day it would.
I pray that each of us remembers Sept. 11, 2001 -- a day of horror. On this day there was an assault upon democracy. We as a people must forever enshrine on the alter of freedom the lives taken from those unable to defend themselves and those given freely by men and women of all religions and ethnicities for whom the phrase "freedom is not free" is more than a simple utterance.
There is no greater gift than that of one man's willingness to lay down his life for another. We have watched in horror as men and women have been willing to not only put themselves in that position, but then when called upon by circumstances, they in fact stepped forward to lay that life on the altar of brotherly and sisterly love, one after another.
My heart is heavy that we, as a people, will find that our families, neighbors, friends and fellow citizens may be required to step forward to make these sacrifices. But it also rejoices in that the most cherished values of all, faith in one another, hope for a future where freedom prevails, fear is abolished and charity for one another is the order of the day.
I have believed my entire life in the American dream. There never has been a system more entrenched in freedom than that found in the American experience. We now stand, however, at that crossroad of history where we must defend the life of each man, woman and child without the loss of the freedom, for each of us, we hold so close to the bosom of our history.
For the world, we must allow each people to develop in their own way, but we can never allow their development and the problems they generate to be destructive to the lives, property and welfare of Americans or, more importantly, to destroy or diminish the spread of freedom and life without fear.
Therefore, to my brothers and sisters and to my parents and family, I must say that I regret that we are now forced into a world that many of us knew existed and prayed would never come to our shores.
But we are a truly great and just people with not only ourselves, but with the world. It is my hope that we always remember that each generation only carries that torch of freedom and must ever be ready to defend that light so that it may not now or ever be extinguished from the face of the earth.
And so, I believe with a fervent faith in God and in our mutual obligation to one another that we shall see a better world, but the costs may be high.
Robert W. Summers, commander
Military Order of the Purple Heart
Kenai Peninsula Chapter 830
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Post 10046, Soldotna
Terrorists may see destruction, but they've made U.S. stronger
A letter to the terrorists:
Look what you've done!
You laugh, party and rejoice looking at the dreary, solemn, picture of what you've done. Thrive on our suffering, hurting nation.
You see us, people dead, people dying, hearts broken, a country shaken and vulnerable. Rescuers dying to help others. Lost men, women and children.
But do you see what you've really done? Yes, people died and are still dying to help others. It shows what our true love is to other humans and our nation. People uniting, people praying together, holding onto one another, supporting each other. Our country is uniting with itself and our Lord Jesus Christ.
See what you've done?
The human spirit bonding with one another, people showing compassion to one another and really meaning it.
You see the pain and suffering. But do you see us growing and getting stronger through this pain?
You see a nation, then think it's ready to fall. We see a renewed hope for our country. A new, reborn vigor for what our country stands for -- land of the free and definitely home of the brave.
We are not going to fall. We will stand even taller.
You see what you've done?
Many lives were lost in this tragedy you visited upon us, but they did not die in vain. They brought us a renewed faith in God, in his people, in our country -- a country that has made God its foundation.
See what you've done? You haven't murdered them. They are heroes and you created them. With their lives lost you let a new spirit be born, and a stronger one.
See what you've done?
Our buildings are gone; but the solid, real structure is in our hearts and getting stronger.
Ah, if only you knew what you've really done.
You think you see a nation falling and hurt? We see a renewed hope for our country -- a new vigor for what our country stands for. You see that you've shaken our very foundation; we see a new one, an even stronger one being built!
Do you see what you've done?
We already have victory, we have it in our hearts already. The very moment you killed our people, our victory was already there! It was in those that died for us. Their reward is not here but in a better place. And the Lord is with them and with us making us stronger than ever before.
The American spirit is holding steadfast onto one another, making us stronger and more blessed. It's something you don't have and it's stronger than your destruction. You may have shaken us, but we hold firm and more rooted than ever before.
You laugh at what you've done. You think you've hurt the very core of our nation by doing what you did? Well, you don't know what you've really done.
You've created heroes and Americans standing hand in hand, heart to heart. You've just made an even stronger nation.
Look what you've done!
You see a country in ruins; we see "America the Beautiful."
Do you see what you've really done?
Anna E. Strunk
Words matter; rhetoric diminishes enormity of last week's tragedy
President Bush has used "Wanted: Dead or Alive" and other terms which invoke the Old West and incite the imagination to gun duels and shoot-outs as he speaks about Osama bin Laden.
My concern is for the overwhelming grief of so many persons around the world whose loved ones were innocent, but violently killed in unspeakable acts of terrorism. Their plight demands justice, not rhetoric.
When we have sufficient proof that Osama and/or any others are responsible for these despicable acts, they should be fully brought to justice through the United States justice system.
Wild West slogans trivialize the enormity of these despicable acts and are not acceptable substitutes for justice.
Only way to stop terrorism is with strong military response
In response to those letter writers who advocate that the response to the horrific events of the last week be economic and political sanctions, and not military action: You are part of the problem, not part of the solution!
It is the thinking that got us into this situation in the first place. One look at the weak response of the recent past will tell most people with even a small amount of common sense that the "Bunny Hugger" approach to terrorist attacks does not work.
I personally blame former President Clinton for not responding sufficiently to the attack on the USS Cole. Had he been a true leader of the men and women that were killed in that attack, the perpetrators of the World Trade Center-Pentagon attacks would have been long since dead and their organization wiped off the face of the earth.
As I watched the results of the Senate and congressional vote on a military response, I was in dismay that there was actually one delegate that voted against action. Of course this delegate is a Democrat! And, of course, from California!
Come on people, get your head out to where the sun is shining and get behind our leaders who with your support will ensure that these people pay dearly for messing with America. After all, just how many cheeks do we have?
William J. Keller
U.S. Army, retired
Due to an editing error, a letter in Monday's Peninsula Clarion from Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey incorrectly quoted Abraham Lincoln. The quotation should have read: "The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but they can never forget what we did here."
The Clarion regrets the error.
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